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Reflections on Cuba

Our WAC Philadelphia trip to Cuba in November, 2018 had a special

moment for the entire group when we made a stop in Australia. Australia,

Cuba that is and to be more specific at the former Central Australia sugar

factory. Unfortunately, in 2001, Hurricane Michelle devastated the factory

and it was then closed. Some of the former workers, now without a regular

source of income, had put together a presentation to explain how the

factory had worked in their days there. And, as they did everything they

could to entertain us, they brought smiles, questions, and lots of

participation. The former plant manager introduced us to her former

employees and each told of their responsibilities. A highlight was watching

the most productive sugar cane stalk cutter in a day (second wasn’t even

close) show his technique. We then helped press out some cane juice and

had a refreshing drink. To make sure we would never forget them or our

experience, we were treated to some great Cuban music by all the former

workers. By the time we finished, everyone in the group had participated

by either playing instruments, singing, and/or dancing. They definitely

made an impression on us and we were all happy to have had such a

joyous experience.

As we sadly left our new friends, a quick stop at the factories main office

brought to our attention the importance this place had on April 15, 1961.

That day Fidel Castro made it his headquarters to lead his forces against

the Cuban-exile forces landing at the Bay of Pigs. This office had the only

phone for miles around. Remnants of the rebels planes are displayed

outside and the office is now a small museum.

These interactions and connections you make with locals of a country is one of the best parts of World Affairs Council tours.

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